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free read Ιλιάς 106 Þ Tolstoy called the Iliad a miracle; Goethe said that it always thrust him into a state of astonishment Homer’s story is thrilling and his Greek is perhaps the most beautiful poetry ever sung or written But until now even the best English translations haven’t been able to re create the energy and simplicity the speed grace and pulsing rAt were added after the Iliad was first written down to the detriment of the music and the story Omitting these hundreds of interpolated lines restores a dramatically sharper leaner text In addition Mitchell’s illuminating introduction opens the epic still further to our understanding and appreciation Now thanks to Stephen Mitchell’s scholarship and the power of his language the Iliad’s ancient story comes to moving vivid new lif. At my college graduation the speaker was a gruff professor He was one of those older men whom people somewhat patronizingly describe as a teddy bear to convey the idea that while he looks like Santa Claus they wouldn’t be surprised to see him arraigned on assault charges at the local courthouse I liked this professor in general and his graduation speech was a grand warm congratulations on a crisp early summer day He decided to inform us however that anyone who had not read The Iliad and The Odyssey should not be graduating from college I was one of those lucky lucky folks like an illiterate kid graduating from high school I decided to rectify the situation as soon as possible and I spent an indefinite number of hours in the next few sunny weeks laying in a hammock on my porch the boy I loved commiserating with me about this wonderful book It is a warm sharp memory That was mumble mumble years ago and this summer I thought that since I just graduated again I would read it again It was a good choice Warm summer days in the hammock with limb chopping flashing helms and mountain goats rushing down the hillsideI can’t find this uote I’m thinking of but I’m pretty sure it’s from Beowulf and it goes something like “Brave men should seek fame in foreign lands” Google does not think that uote exists so maybe I dreamed it which is really neither here nor there but kind of weird Something about that uote about this book and about the way this book reminds me of that uote makes my blood beat close to my skin I get this feeling that my heart grows too big for my ribs and my eyeballs get tight as though I’m going to cry But my heart doesn’t pound and no tears comeThat is how this book feels to meThis story is about what Homer doesn’t describe as much as what he does and reading it evokes some kind of mirroring response from my body The Iliad is the almost death of Achilles the almost destruction of Troy and reading it is an almost panic attack an almost sob It is the absent top step in a flight of stairs But oh man that flight of stairs How do you even make that It’s not possible to spoil this story because Homer is always one step ahead tripping you up about what story he’s telling So just because I think it’s fun and also because it seems kind of absurd to write a “review” of The Iliad so I’m wandering in the dark here I’m going to give a brief summaryThis story is about a bunch of guys fighting over some women fleshlights and jewelry Mostly the women fleshlights Everyone’s been at this war for nine years sidebar weirdly when I read that it was nine years I thought “NINE YEARS WHO WOULD FIGHT A WAR FOR THAT LONG Oh wait ” As you probably know the war initially started because Paris a Trojan stole Helen who was the iPhone 5 of fleshlights from Menelaus an Argive The Argives are at their ships; the Trojans are in Ilium behind the city walls There’s lots of blood and guts and pillaging throughout This story Homer clearly tells us is about Paris and Helen’s betrayal of Menelaus and it is about the death of Achilles The story opens with Agamemnon the king of the Argives having stolen a fancy new fleshlight from Achilles who is a child of a water nymph Achilles refuses to continue fighting if Agamemnon is going to take his fleshlight Then Achilles has this beautiful beautiful moment where he uestions the very nature of fighting over fleshlights We are all pawns in the petty suabbles of the godsThe gods are easily my favorite parts of this story though it is not really about them in a certain way It is not really about them in the way that any discussion of a god is not really about the god On the one hand it is about how our lives are just pawns in this suabbling incestuous eternal Thanksgiving dinner in the sky On the other hand it is still about the pawns The gods are compelling on their own but my heart tries to escape my chest not because of their story but because yes humans do live and die by some kind of petty lottery run by a rapist married to his sister Yes And maybe there is someone bold and wonderful in the sky like the grey eyed Athena but we still live and die by the thunder of a maniacal drunk uncle Yes that seems trueSo in the midst of the chopping of limbs the shatteringly beautiful similes death after death and the machinations of the dysfunctional immortal family this story is about the betrayal of Menelaus and the death of Achilles The thing that is absolutely hands down the most insane about this story to me is that those two events are deeply vivid in my mind in connection to this book but neither of them actually happens here How is that possible How do you plant enough seeds about an event in a reader’s mind that when she closes a book those seeds grow into whole robust images about the event My blood does that thing where it tries to get out of my skin just from thinking about that I can picture Achilles's death so vividly picture lying in that hammock and reading it after I graduated from college but that never happened Homer just planted the seeds of his death in my brain and they grew from my constant pondering over them Helen and Paris sailing away grew in my mind through Helen’s beautiful regretsThis is a story that I could think about for days Helen’s mourning like the women I’ve seen apologize for causing their husbands’ abuse no you didn’t cause this; war and the futility of killing each other as though we are controlled by the Kardashians of the sky What causes violence We say women cause violence because they push our buttons so we’re driven to maim and kill because of the betrayals and button pushing We say that something eternal God or the gods cause violence because they control our fate they appear to us as birds and as wisdom and lead us on our night blind path of life but they lead us erratically drunk hysterical drivers and us with no seat belt so we grasp for mere survival Homer describes those motivations for violence so beautifullyBut ultimately I think that is all bullshit and I think the bullshitness of it is there in this story too It is there in Achilles challenging Agamemnon It is there in Achilles mourning Patroclus Oh Patroclus about whom I haven’t even freaked in this review What a shame Anyway though people are not violent because we were betrayed or because of supernatural trickery Our violence is ours; it is our choice and our responsibility Life is barbarous and cruel around us but that is its nature and we can only shape ourselves through and around it When we expect life to be gentle and obedient we are usually doing nothing than justifying our own cruelty I don’t think there is an answer to any of this in The Iliad but it is beautifully told in both the positive and negative space It is blood poundingly eye achingly told As my professor said everyone should read this and if you can read it in the sun lying in a hammock after your graduation all the better

Homer Ì 6 read

Tolstoy called the Iliad a miracle; Goethe said that it always thrust him into a state of astonishment Homer’s story is thrilling and his Greek is perhaps the most beautiful poetry ever sung or written But until now even the best English translations haven’t been able to re create the energy and simplicity the speed grace and pulsing rhythm of the original In Stephen Mitchell’s Iliad the epic story resounds again across 2700 year. Pablo Picasso spent his entire life trying desperately to do something new something uniue He moved from style to style mastering and then abandoning both modern and classical methods even trying to teach his trained artist's hand to paint like a childIn 1940 four French teens and a dog stumbled upon a cave that had lain hidden for 16000 years Inside they found the walls covered in beautiful drawings of men and animals When the Lascaux caves were opened to the public Pablo Picasso visited them and as he stared at the prehistoric hunting scenes was heard to remark in a despondent tone We have invented nothingThe Iliad is eually as humbling to a writer as complex beautiful and honest as any other work The war scenes play out like a modern film gory and fast paced the ever present shock of death Though some have been annoyed at how each man is named or even given a past before his death this gives weight to the action Each death is has conseuence and as each man steps onto the stage to meet glory or death Homer gives us a moment to recognize him to see him amidst the whirling action and to witness the fate Zeus metesThe psychological complexity and humanism of this work often shocked me Homer's depiction of human beings as fundamentally flawed and unable to direct their own lives predicts existentialism The even hand he gives both the Trojans and the Argives places his work above the later moralizing allegories of Turold Tasso or even MiltonOf course Homer's is a different world than theirs one where the sword has not yet become a symbol for righteousness In Homer good men die unavenged and bad men make their way up in the world Noble empires fall to ravenous fire and the corpses of fresh limbed young men are desecratedFate does not favor the kind the weak the moral or even the strong Fate favors some men now others later and in the end none escapes the emptiness of death Though Homer paints some men as great as noble and kind and brave these men do not uphold these ideals for some promised paradise but simply because they are such menThere is something refreshing in the purity of the philosophy of living life for yourself and yet expecting no entitlement for your deeds A philosophy which accepts the uncontrollable winds of fate; that when the dark mist comes across our eyes no man knows whence he goesLater traditions make other claims that the righteous will be rewarded that the lives of good men will be good and the bad will be punished In thousands of years of thinking of writing of acting have we gained nothing but comforting untenable ideals Then Picasso was wrong we have invented something but it is only a machine which perpetuates itself by peddling self satisfaction I read and enjoyed the Fagles translation which may not be the most faithful but strikes that oft discussed balance between joy of reading and fidelity He makes no attempt to translate the meter into English which is a blessing to us The English language does a few meters well and Homer's is not one of them The footnotes were competent and interesting though I could have stood a few of them; perhaps I am in the minority I also thoroughly enjoyed Knox's introductory essay I would normally have had to research the scholarly history of the book myself and so Knox's catch me up was much appreciated

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ΙλιάςS as if the lifeblood of its heroes Achilles and Patroclus Hector and Priam flows in every word And we are there with them amid the horror and ecstasy of war carried along by a poetry that lifts even the most devastating human events into the realm of the beautiful Mitchell’s Iliad is the first translation based on the work of the preeminent Homeric scholar Martin L West whose edition of the original Greek identifies many passages th. Everyone knows the Iliad And everyone talks about it But here I only want to discuss one forgotten element of it An element ESSENTIAL to constructing a valid modern worldview for EACH of usI always avoided applying this element to my daily life But I was wrong so wrongRei Pasa Those two words sum it all upThey were written by a Greek gentleman who was roughly the contemporary of Homer Heraclitus the ancient pre Socratic philosopherRei pasa everything changes InevitablyAs Heraclitus explains elsewhere “You can’t step into the same river twice” EVERYTHING is in movementSo it is with Homer In this epic everything takes place In Medias Res right smack dab in the middle of the chaos of everyday lifeThat’s where we all start in our OWN lives And finishAnd that’s the ONLY place we’ll ever find PeaceNow that seems odd doesn’t it And it seemed that way for me tooBack in 1985 I was harried to the Max by my new furiously high powered career I couldn’t find any place of peace in my life That’s the year I started to find solace in Eastern philosophy and New Age MusicHey with this stuff you could get blissed out in no time So I weakly thoughtBut then the frenetic pace of the workplace sped up And kept accelerating all the way to retirement I felt trappedBy 1999 I was burning out I was frazzled Fried But on an April day exactly twenty years ago I realized I had no choice but to let it all go and give it to GodTHAT was when I really knew what In Medias Res REALLY meant It’s not OUR world It’s His Let Him do what He wants for a change and sit back for the RIDE OF YOUR LIFEYou’ll never experience the eternal mutability of life until you get to that point There’s just NO WAY because otherwise YOU solid ‘unchanging’ you are always center stageYou have to let it go and give it awayJust like Achilles loses it and becomes his FateAnd that’s why Homer is so colossalThere’s just no other way to peace At the Eye of the Storm